TITLE=CLINTON-KOREA MISSILES (L-ONLY)
INTRO: President Clinton - facing a critical decision
soon on a U-S anti-ballistic missile program - says
this month's North-South Korean summit was a positive
development. But he say it has not eliminated U-S
concern about Pyongyang's long-range missile program.
VOA's David Gollust reports from the White House.
TEXT: The North Korean missile program, which included
the firing of a multi-stage test rocket over Japan two
years ago, is the most frequently-cited rationale for
the controversial U-S anti-missile system. The
program is being developed by the Pentagon and faces a
Presidential go-ahead decision within weeks.
North Korea suspended flight tests late last year and
has taken steps to end its international isolation
since then, including the historic summit with South
Korea two weeks ago.
At his news conference Wednesday, President Clinton
said he is encouraged by the developments but said the
North Korean program continues and has to remain a
factor in his anti-missile deliberations:
They still have a missile program. And so it's
still something the United States has to be
mindful of and to prepare to deal with and to,
you know, to keep up with. And of course I hope
it will go away as a problem. I hope it for the
people of North Korea too. Goodness, all these
countries that have a lot of people in great
need that are spending vast sums of money on
defense: it's one of the great tragedies of the
world today. So would I like it to go away? Of
course I would. Do I think it's gone away
because of this (summit) meeting? I don't.
As Mr. Clinton spoke, the State Department was
announcing a new round of U-S-North Korean missile
talks - their first in more than a year. The talks
are to take place next month in Malaysian capital,
At the news conference, the President insisted he had
not made a decision on the anti-missile program.
There have been press accounts the administration will
proceed with at least groundwork for deployment --
regardless of the outcome of a crucial test of the
system expected within a few weeks.
Russia has vigorously opposed the U-S program.
Officials in Moscow call it a violation of the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Vladimir
Putin reiterated that in strong terms at his Moscow
meeting with President Clinton earlier this month.
However Mr. Clinton told reporters the Russian side
did acknowledge that third-country missile threats are
emerging that are not covered by bilateral arms
accords. He said those threats will require the major
powers to, as he put it, "make adjustments."
The president said he intends to weigh the many
factors involved in the anti-missile equation and have
a decision to announce to the American people sometime
"in the next several weeks." (Signed)
28-Jun-2000 18:13 PM EDT (28-Jun-2000 2213 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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